Rafael Nadal talks to the media following his first round match.
Q. How would you describe your transition to the grass this time around?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, was a positive match for me. First thing because I won. That’s the most important thing. I didn’t play much on grass for the last three years. So always is like you restart.
So happy for the victory. In the end the match was difficult. After the first set was even more difficult. So I was able to fight. I was able to try to find some solutions, some changes during the match. I think I can do it better than what I did today, but at the same time I know I will not play today at my 100%. I will not play perfect today after not playing in grass for a while.
So you need to find the routines again. You need to find the confidence on some shots. The only way to find that things that comes automatic, the only way is play matches.
Q. You had two early exits here the last two years. How much was that on your mind going into the match? How determined has that made you to succeed this time around?
RAFAEL NADAL: That’s part of the sport, no? Grass is a difficult surface, a surface that I played so good during a part of my career. So is a surface that I really have positive result and have in my heart because here was one of the most important tournaments of my career.
So I am excited to be back here, to win again a match in Wimbledon, in the Centre Court. When you go on court and you lost last year in the first round, the year before in the second round, no, I don’t going to lie nobody, sure, it stays in your mind.
But in the end is a tennis match. And winning Roland Garros, you are able to go on court with a little bit less pressure than if you don’t really win there, and that helps.
Q. You served well today. There was one serve where you hit the frame on breakpoint. Was that the pressure of the breakpoint? I don’t remember you doing that before.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, happened to me before. No, is not the first time.
I don’t know. I think I saved a lot of breakpoints serving well and playing well. But always you have pressure on the breakpoints. That one I missed. So that’s the real thing. I don’t know if it was because was a breakpoint or not. I lost the coordination on that serve.
Q. When you went the first set down, did it creep into your mind what happened the last two years or did it make you more determined to get back into the game as quickly as possible?
RAFAEL NADAL: When you are on the match, you are not thinking about what happened last year, two years ago, five years ago. When you are on the match, you’re thinking about the next point, you’re thinking about finding a solution for that match.
What is past is past. What happened, happened. We don’t want to change that. The only way to try something is try to change what’s happening right now. What was happening in the match is I lost the first set having some chances in the first set. But I played a bad game there in the 4-All. Then I make two mistakes in the next game because I had Love-30 again and I lose the set.
The second set was very important because he had some chances at the beginning. I was able to save that ones, so that was very, very important for me.
Q. That first set, you’ve given a few of your opponents a chance at dropping the first set, the semis at Roland Garros as well as the final, but you always come back winning three straight sets. Does it spur you on or do you feel you’re giving too much of a chance to your opponent early on?
RAFAEL NADAL: I try my best in every moment. When I lose the first, I try to win the second. If I win the second, I try to win the third and then the fourth. That’s the tennis, no?
I want to win the first game, the first set with the same intensity as the second. It’s not something that losing the first helped me to be back on the match. I prefer to win the first and then you play with a little bit more calm. But the opponent plays, too. I’m not the only one on court. The opponents are good. The opponents want to wins.
Today he was able to play aggressive. The first match, the opponents try to play very aggressive. The court is a little bit more slippery. In the beginning of the tournament, is a little bit more difficult the movement.
As I said before, you need to find the automatic things that gives you the matches on the surface. When I am playing on clay, I don’t have to think a lot about what I have to do when I am in semifinals of Roland Garros because I have all the things comes together and automatic, no? I just think about how I want to play that match.
Here, you know, you need to adjust the movement. You need to adjust the rhythm. You need to find the right feeling on the speed of the ball. You need to find the right places to serve because the serve is so important.
So all the things that you need to keep doing, and at the beginning the things are not going that easy, after a few matches you are able to win and play with the right tactic.
Q. Next up Rosol, of course. Do you take many lessons from last year’s match?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I lost. I lost because he’s a good player. He’s a player that can play very well on this surface.
He’s aggressive player. Will be a tough match again. I know if I want to have chances to win, I need to play very well. That’s what I going to try. If not, I don’t have chances to be in the third round. But I going to fight for it.
Q. Is winning back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon titles the toughest beat in tennis, do you think? Is that the hardest thing in the sport to do?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think so. I am not sure on that because if we are thinking about our era, I don’t see a big difference of winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon because in the end if you’re in the final, you really make the same adjustment. You were able to play very well on grass, too.
I was able to do that five times. Djokovic was able to play the final in Roland Garros or semifinals and then win here. So that match will not make a difference.
I don’t see that win Roland Garros and Wimbledon is so difficult one tournament by itself. The tough thing today is at the end mentally and physically you play a long clay court season. Not only the clay court season. You are coming from American hard court season. So one month in America, then one-month-and-a-half or two months in Europe playing on clay. Then mentally if you are able to win Roland Garros, you already played a lot of your time at your top mentally and physically. Is normal you go down little bit.
The real thing is you don’t have lot of time to prepare and to play matches on grass. But the best players were able to do it very well the last couple of years, the transition.
Q. People say the grass at Wimbledon is either too fast, too slow. Does it really make any difference because everybody has to play on the surface no matter what?
RAFAEL NADAL: The problem with the players always is the same. If I am playing very well, I see the grass slow. If I am playing bad, I see the grass very quick. That is the same for me and the rest of the players.
The feeling are not the same every year for the same players, no? You arrive to, for example, a tournament Montréal that is very fast. I remember 2005 I was there. I had an unbelievable feeling, I was playing great before I arrive to the tournament. I arrive to the locker room, everybody was saying the court was playing that fast. I didn’t feel the court was that fast. Is always about the personal feeling of the people.
My personal feeling, I repeat my personal feeling is I am playing in Wimbledon since in 2002. In 2002 I played Wimbledon junior. We are 2014. I don’t see no one difference between that period of time. I don’t know before.
Q. Next year we go one week later, which will give you more time to prepare. What would you like to do between Roland Garros and Wimbledon with this extra week?
RAFAEL NADAL: That’s great for the grass court at the end because is a historic surface. The grass deserve to have one more week. That’s the real thing.
For the players who are able to play very well and long on clay have this extra week that you don’t have to play, for example, Halle, Queen’s, that week to prepare Wimbledon. Helps. Physically you are always a little bit more dangerous when you are finishing Roland Garros on Sunday and you have to play Wednesday. You are dangerous a little bit more physically. Is tough to help make the right preparation for the tournament.
Q. In the first game of the third set, there was a point where you slipped and you covered on the baseline both sides of the court and hit a winner, a passing shot. Can you describe what was going through your mind and what you were feeling after the point?
RAFAEL NADAL: During is difficult to find a feeling because you are running. When you fall down, you try to go up as quick as possible and come back to the match, no, to the point.
Then after the point, I know I make something difficult because the movements on grass here are difficult. When you fall down, when you lose little bit the stability, is difficult to come back.
In that point I was able to do it twice and then finish with a great passing shot with the backhand. So was a great point.
Q. What feeling did it give you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Positive one. That give me a breakpoint.